Financial Gurus: Advice or Entertainment?

Today’s financial gurus are experts and entertainers.  Once you understand that, you can use what they have to say to navigate your own path down the road of financial freedom.

You hear their blurbs on the local radio station. You see their infomercials on your favorite PBS station.  They are even highlighted on the nightly news and morning shows.  Today’s financial gurus are everywhere, and they have a lot to say about your money – and how you spend it.

The advice they tout may seem solid, but the question remains, do the likes of Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey; Jean Chatzky and David Bach know what they are talking about?  Is it smart to trust what they have to say? Are their quick tips and financial tweets solid?

They Have Walked in Your Shoes

Everyone likes a good underdog story; especially when you feel like one yourself. One of the things that endear us to these modern day financial gurus is the fact that many of them have backgrounds similar to our own.  Both Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey have experienced real financial difficulties in the past, even claiming bankruptcy.  This can make their advice seem more reputable to the average person.  If they have walked in your shoes, they wouldn’t steer you wrong, right?

No Plan is Perfect

Don’t get carried away with those personal sob stories. They may grab your attention, but the fact remains that no single plan is perfect. Many of these so-called gurus offer a one-size-fits-all program, which may not be appropriate for your personal circumstances.

For instance, much of Dave Ramsey’s philosophy depends on the fact that many people go into debt by buying things they cannot afford. Simply sell that big house or second car and you can get your budget under control and pay down your debt. That’s sounds good until you realize you don’t have anything to sell off.

What are those who find themselves in debt to circumstances beyond their control (like a job loss or medical problems) to do?  Without the ability to get money by selling off personal items, Ramsey’s debt snowball philosophy has a hard time gaining momentum.

A better approach to managing your money may be to take tips from individual experts that fit your personal experience and use them to develop a program that will work for you.

The Pros and Cons of Listening to Gurus

If you are like millions of others who find themselves strapped for cash and drowning in debt, then you will likely find some nuggets of gold in these gurus’ messages.  Dave Ramsey, for instance, is great at helping people recognize their poor spending habits and climbing out of a hole of debt.

Suze Orman, on the other hand, prides herself in helping people take financial responsibility, while David Bach is an expert at tracking expenses.

While each of these experts offers some solid tips for getting out of debt and building investments for a strong financial future, there are some things to keep in mind when following their advice:

  • Their fortunes depend on selling you on their ideas.  Each of the gurus mentioned makes a living by convincing you that their ideas on money management are the best. If it were not for our inability to stick to a plan and use our money wisely, they would be out of business – and broke.
  • They are entertainers first and financial experts second. The financial advisor down the street may have been telling you how to get out of debt for years, but you haven’t listened. What’s the difference between what he’s been saying and what Suze Orman touts during one of her workshops?  It’s all in the presentation and the speaker’s personality. Those who have attained guru status in our society do so, not because of their message, but in the way they deliver it. They are entertainers first, and they know how to grab your attention and keep you engaged.

It is true that the average American wastes thousands of dollars every year on small insignificant spending habits that can be easily broken, giving them more money for the important things in life.  But will giving up that morning bagel have the impact that some financial experts claim it will?  Only if it is one of many changes made to the way you think about and use your money.  Too many debt reduction programs out there concentrate on small gains, when they should be tackling the bigger money issues.

Use Their Advice as a Beginning, Not the Whole Journey

Finding financial freedom is not a sprint; it is a marathon – a very long marathon.  Let the quick start tips and tricks of today’s media moguls get you started on a lifelong path of smarter spending … more experienced investing … and financial growth.  Use their message to invigorate and motivate you and take their inspiring words and ideas to get you started in your quest to free yourself of debt and begin building wealth for your future.

Are today’s financial gurus true experts or simply entertainers?  The fact is, they are both.  That is, once you understand that you can use what they have to say to navigate your own path down the road of financial freedom.